Ryan Negative Splits a Windy Boston

by EJN Comments (0) Articles, Racing

Coming in Monday’s Boston Marathon, Elizabeth Ryan had only run one marathon. She didn’t even break three in that one. On a day where most hopes for PR’s were tumbling away in the ‘breeze’, and any dreams of negative splitting were out the window, Elizabeth pulled off both. Just look at her splits, including the pace at a couple of key points:


5K – 20:18 … 6:32 pace
10K – 40:14
15K – 1:00:06
20K – 1:19:48
Half – 1:24:08 … 6:25 pace
25K – 1:39:28
30K – 1:59:12
35K – 2:18:57
40K – 2:38:22
Finish – 2:47:15 … 6:23 pace

Here’s our interview with the GBTC runner who unbelievably is still getting her marathon legs under her, which seems hard to believe by the splits she just dropped on the premiere course.

What was your PR coming into the race?

My PR was a 3:02:34 run at Lehigh Valley Marathon in September. It was my first marathon. Monday was my second marathon.

You were pretty close to your teammate Kerri Leonhardt. Were you two planning on running together?

I think we both would have liked to run together (we train together, hang out together, party together), but I had to start about 3,000 people behind her, so it was out of the question. Hopefully next year we will be able to start at the same time! (Editor’s note: Leonhardt finished in 2:49:39, which is impressive on its own, and Ryan did end up catching her. Amazing.)

It’s not a stretch to say that in favorable conditions a OTQ is well within your reach. Is that the plan?

Thanks. I honestly know next to nothing about running marathons. I’ve only been seriously thinking about the marathon for 3 months now. I don’t have any expectations for my next marathon. Other than running as fast as I can. Luckily for me, the Greater Boston Track Club gave me the Margaret Bradley award this year, so they will be helping me get to CIM in December. I’ll stay out in California for a week, and then run USATF Club Nats the following weekend. It’s going to be an amazing week!

What was the goal time for the day? Or was time not the goal given the brutal conditions?

I realize goals are very useful, but I generally shy away from having a clear cut number to dwell on. I’m more interested in running by feel and hoping I feel amazing that day. That being said, I thought under 3 hrs was attainable, given that my 3:02 marathon was run on an average of 40 mpw, and this time around I averaged about 50-55 mpw leading up to Boston.

What’s your biggest takeaway from this?

Marathons are a blast! I already knew this from Lehigh, but as I was hoping to go a bit faster this time around, I was worried it might be somehow less fun. The best part of running Lehigh was chatting with a guy from the Central Park Track Club from mile 13-18. This time I did a bit less chatting, for sure, but while I was running I still got to talk with an army guy Minnesota, a man all the way from Oklahoma, and a guy from Oakland, CA who shared a mutual college friend with me. Seeing GBTC non-marathoners and GBTC ex-pats on Heartbreak and around mile 24 was the best feeling ever. Also, the huge Sicilian side of my family is from the Quincy/Boston area, so I knew I had a lot of people thinking about me on Marathon Monday.

Your splits were tremendous! You negative split it, and by a significant margin. On any day that’s impressive. But to do it under those circumstances, well that’s on a whole ‘nother level! Did it just work out that way or was that part of the plan?

I was kind of amazed when I saw the negative splits on Strava. I have a GPS watch, but I don’t ever look at it on race day. I really just like to see the maps it makes when I upload it to Strava later, haha. And seeing splits after the race is always interesting, too. I thought I would positive split like everyone does at Boston, but it was so crowded for the first part of the race because I was relatively far back in the corrals because of my 3:02 seed time, that I spent a good 10 miles weaving in and out of people, running through people’s driveways and front lawns and generally going a lot slower than I expected. So that probably left me with a ton of pent up energy once it finally opened up and I could start clicking off consistent paces.

It’ll be interesting to see what Elizabeth can do with a little more training and a more clear start (and better conditions!). Certainly the Trials ‘B’ standard of 2:43 is well within her reach.

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